I wonder when this foreboding will leave me.
I keep waiting, waiting for the second clog to drop, for when President Obama does something that makes me lose faith in the Hope. I know I’ve been obnoxiously cheer-leading for him here since Inauguration Day. It’s just a new phenomena to me, being led by a President who a) promises to do great things, and then b) delivers. Yes, just more than a month and I am still in the honeymoon, I am pleased to report.
Like today. I was all set for him to lose me. Today, the man gave what I think will be the most important speech of at least his first term, if not for his entire presidency (yes, I am assuming a lot here). I was anticipating the announcement that he’d had to hem and haw his way to a longer involvement than promised and that there would have to be a residual force, and I wasn’t liking it. But Barack Obama kept me on today, specifically, when he said this:
Let me say this as plainly as I can. By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.
Date certain. That’s amazing. It’s astonishing. The President of the United States just offered a friggin’ TIMETABLE, and he did using a sentence a fifth-grader could diagram. Why hasn’t the sky fallen in yet, like the Republigoats said it would? And what happens when it doesn’t? Can we stop listening to them then? Please?
The lovely thing about the man’s speech today was that he managed to draw up his date certain while lavishing an incredible amount of praise on the troops and the mission and delivering them mighty good news to boot. Some of the initiatives he discussed today regarding veterans’ issues—more money, more troops, access to health care, a G.I. Bill—surely made Paul Reikoff’s hair stand up on end.
I do not agree with President Obama on everything, certainly. I wish he could be more vocal about investigating the thugs who ran the show before him. I wish he would not insist on distinguishing “marriage” from “civil unions.” I am leery of any plan that sinks us further into Afghanistan and/or Pakistan militarily, and I am not with him on the death penalty (he believes it appropriate in some cases; I believe it to be as un-American as brie melted on a berliner mashed up with a burrito stuffed into a haggis).
So far, though, no seething outrage; no birds flipped at the television set as he speaks; no disparaging names made up for him so I can avoid having to type out the phrase “President Obama.”
No, this is night and day compared to the first eight of the aughts.
An amateur wonk could get used to this.